Packed with cinnamon raisin flavor and oozing with a decadent cinnamon cream cheese, this Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Strata is the perfect Christmas morning breakfast!
Only 3 days til Christmas! 🎅 Can you believe it?
I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, with it being the mildest fall/winter that I can ever remember here in the northeast (a forecasted 73 degrees on Christmas Eve! What the WHAT?!) It’s funny how the temperature can really affect your holiday spirit.
But, even if getting into the jolly holly spirit has been more difficult for me this year thanks to mother nature, do NOT assume that I’m saying that I haven’t been ANXIOUSLY AWAITING one of my favorite parts of December 25th: CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST.
I would be majorly fibbing if I said that Christmas breakfast wasn’t my favorite breakfast of the whole year. Partly because of the merriment that surrounds it, partly because of the wonderful family that I get to share it with, but mostly because it is always sooooo insanely delicious.
Every year growing up we had the same Christmas breakfast: My Aunt Janet’s Butterscotch Monkey Bread. It’s to die for! But now that my sister-in-law and I are gluten-free, Monkey Bread is, quite literally, off the table. I made a gluten-free version last year, which turned out pretty well, but it look me 2 hours to prep the night before (yes, 2 HOURS) and then about 30 minutes the morning of, before the baking even happened! Since this year is going to be a little more chaotic because of a growing family, I went in search of creating something that would be JUST as delicious, but about 1/200th of the work.
JACKPOT: Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Strata!
Have you heard of a strata before? It’s basically a fancy name for a make-ahead breakfast casserole that consists of bread, eggs, milk, and lots and lots of cheese. While stratas usually tend to be on the more savory side of things, I knew I wanted to use the strata concept, but make my breakfast sweet instead of savory, in a nod to Aunt Janet’s Monkey Bread.
Enter Canyon Bakehouse’s Cinnamon Raisin bread (SO GOOD) and my secret weapon: cream cheese!
The hardest part of this recipe is twofold: making the cinnamon cream cheese “filling” (sarcasm: it’s 4 easy ingredients!) and NOT eating all of the cream cheese filling before it makes it into the strata. That might sound like a joke, but the struggle is REAL!
I mean, just look at it, in all of its cinnamon-y glory:
This Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Strata needs to be prepped the night before (similar to my Overnight Sausage & Egg Casserole) but the good news is that the only time required in the morning is baking time, which means more time for PRESENTS! 🎁
To assemble the strata, you’ll simply cube your bread, place half of the cubes in the bottom of a casserole dish, whip up your cream cheese mixture and drop small dollops of it over the bread cubes, top with more bread cubes, pour the egg mixture over the top, cover, and pop in the fridge overnight. Simple as that! Then in the morning, just remove it from the fridge, preheat the oven, and pop it in to bake!
Ta-da! Just like magic, Christmas breakfast is ready!
Also, if you’re into a little extra pizzaz on Christmas, I highly recommend drizzling a little glaze on top of the strata after it comes of the oven.
Who am I kidding? This is a MUST. It’s CHRISTMAS afterall.
My husband also prefers to douse this Cinnamon Raisin Strata in maple syrup, and while I think it’s just perfect on it’s own — ESPECIALLY when you come across some of that ooey gooey cinnamon cream cheese — do whatever makes you happy! It’s the most wonderful breakfast of the year, afterall 🙂
I hope this Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Strata will make your Christmas morning one of the most merry yet.
I’m already counting down the seconds!
- 1 loaf Canyon Bakehouse Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sugar
- --- Cinnamon Cream Cheese ---
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- --- Glaze ---
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- Cut bread into 1 inch chunks.
- In a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer, mix cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon together until smooth. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, ¼ cup sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a 1 ½ quart baking, place half of the bread cubes to create a bottom later. Dollop cream cheese evenly over the layer of bread. Place the remaining cubes of bread over top of the cream cheese and first layer of bread. Evenly pour the egg mixture over the bread.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 4 hours.
- In the morning, remove the strata from the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 350℉. Cover with tin foil, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the egg mixture is almost set. Remove the tin foil, and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes, or until egg mixture is set and the strata is golden brown.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk and powdered sugar. Once the strata is slightly cooled, drizzle the glaze over the stop of the strata. Serve, and enjoy!
This recipe was developed in partnership with Canyon Bakehouse. All opinions are 100% my own!
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Looking for other great make ahead ideas for Christmas morning?